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Food expert's food autopsies reveal nutrition

March 25, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Dietitian Rachel Beller has dissected some of our favorite foods to reveal just how much empty sugar and carbohydrates are hiding.

Beller says the amount of rice involved in a few tuna rolls translates into the carbs and sugar of eight slices of bread - about a half a loaf. Too many high-calorie empty carbs.

"You can do sushi right but if you don't you don't do it right, you're eating loaves of bread," Beller said.

Beller suggests asking for light rice when ordering sushi or get a hand roll or sashimi salad.

Beller, who has helped celebrities Sheryl Crow and Robin Roberts, put her nutrition action plan into "Eat to Lose, Eat to Win," featuring her signature food autopsies that break down the ingredients of seemingly healthy foods.

For example, in a yogurt parfait, the carb and sugar is equivalent to three slices of bread and seven lollipops.

A ramen bowl? That's six slices of bread and loads of salt.

That chicken burrito with a handful of chips is equal to 8 1/2 slices of bread. It'll end up costing you about 1,200 calories.

Also, say no to the 24-ounce energy drink. Sugar-wise, that's a whopping 11 lollipops.

Beller wants you to look at her plan like training wheels, a starter kit if you will. Stock up on easy ideas that make eating a no-brainer. Have Greek yogurt in the morning with fresh blueberries. Use a shaker of spices like orange peel, cinnamon, cocoa and ground chia to flavor up.

In lieu of that burrito, Beller said you can have a tostada salad greens a little bit of the corn salsa. Salsa chicken beans. Add a pinch of cheese and you've got a third of the calories than the burrito. The dnd result similar foods, better nutrition.

"You're still eating in the same place with the same people, you're not an odd ball," she said. "You fit right in but your waist is shrinking."

She also wants you to use her fiber insurance strategy of getting at least 10 fiber grams per meal, aiming for 35 grams daily. But watch out:

Because food manufacturers know that fiber is a smart selling point, many actually add so-called "isolated fibers" to their foods, but that doesn't necessarily make them better.

"You'll see them like maltodextrin soy fiber, cottonseed fiber, inulin which is chicory root," Beller said.

The label might look good, but inside it's not as productive as things you find in whole foods, like the 4 grams of fiber in oatmeal, the 4 grams in an apple or the 7 grams in a scoop of chia seeds.

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